UK envoy for talks on lifting emergency | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 13, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 13, 2008

UK envoy for talks on lifting emergency

British High Commissioner in Dhaka Stephen Evans yesterday stressed the need for holding a dialogue between the caretaker government and political parties to reach a consensus on the issue of lifting the state of emergency.
The lifting of the emergency is very much a matter of the government of Bangladesh, he said while talking to reporters after a meeting with senior Awami League (AL) leaders.
Lifting of the emergency, parliamentary and local body polls, release of political leaders were among other issues that came up in the hour-long meeting held at acting AL President Zillur Rahman's Gulshan home in the capital. AL Presidium member Tofail Ahmed and acting General Secretary Syed Ashraful Islam were present at the meeting.
During the meeting, the AL leaders expressed their firm stance on not taking part in any polls with the emergency in place.
"No election under emergency will be acceptable to the people and the parties," Tofail told reporters reiterating their demands for lifting the state of emergency before any polls and holding the parliamentary elections first.
The British envoy said, "We know the fact that the chief adviser is for gradually lifting the state of emergency. But from my personal view, all should now think about whether dialogue can be held between the political parties and the government to talk about the way, process and time of lifting the emergency."
On national elections, he hoped that the parliamentary polls would be held in December in line with the Election Commission (EC) announced electoral road map.
On European Union's (EU) announcement that it would not send election observers if the state of emergency remains enforced, Evans said the EU believes in creating conducive environment to have an election in a free and fair manner. "If the government of Bangladesh can create such environment ahead of the elections, the EU will send observers team," he said.
The British envoy mentioned his government's commitment to work together with the Bangladesh government in socio-economic sectors.

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